Divorce Family Law Spousal Support

Paying Alimony to an Accused Murderer

Having to pay alimony to an ex-spouse can be one of life’s frustrating situations. It’s often an obligation that people just have to grin-and-bear. But for one Utah woman, it’s so much more than an annoyance. For her it means paying alimony to an ex-husband that has been accused of murdering her new husband.

Joy Sidwell

Joy Sidwell of Lindon, Utah, recently asked a judge to allow her stop making the monthly $500 alimony payments to her ex-spouse, Fred Lee. Lee allegedly killed Sidwell’s new husband, Mike Sidwell, in July. According to authorities, Lee, 59, is being held in the Utah County Jail on aggravated murder charges, among others.

Fred Lee

According to court documents, Lee told police he was searching for Sidwell “to kill her,” on July 3. Reportedly, he then entered the Sidwell home searching for his ex-wife, but shot and killed her current husband, Mike Sidwell. “My grandson called me and said, ‘Call [Mike] and tell him we saw grandpa [Fred] hiding behind the van.’ But it was too late, he had already been shot. It’s been a nightmare,” Joy Sidwell said.

Alimony Obstacle

Sidwell had filed stalking complaints against Lee in 2005 and 2007. She also had protective orders issued for him. She feels this issue of alimony is another obstacle in the legal system. “It should be a simple thing. I shouldn’t even have to go to court to do it,” Sidwell said. “They should just see that.” According to Sidwell, Utah State Court Commissioner Thomas Patton told her she is over-reaching. “But I’m like, ‘You don’t know how this guy [Fred Lee] thinks,’” she said. Lee has been awarded alimony due to a head injury that prevented him from working, Sidwell said.

Utah Law

While Utah law does not address unusual situations like this, the government website does reference how the role of material changes with modifying alimony payments. According to Utah state law, “if there are substantial material changes in circumstances not foreseeable at the time of divorce, either party may petition the court for an order modifying alimony. However, the court may not modify alimony to address needs of the recipient that did not exist at the time the decree was entered, unless there are special reasons for doing so.”

Sidwell has plans to return to court on Sept. 15 to petition for the alimony payments to be stopped. Lee will legally be allowed to contest her petition.


For advice on alimony, you need the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA. Schedule a consultation today.

Source: ABC News, Woman Pleads to Stop Alimony Paid to Ex-Husband Accused of Killing New Husband, August 26, 2014


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Divorce Law LA

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